Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 23, 2018

“salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” – “it is the gift of God”

Today’s devotion comes from Luke 8:43-48.  (Although I skipped verses 40-42, I thought it would be better to cover them with their companion verses 49-56 after this devotion.) 

“And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped.  And Jesus said, “Who is the one who touched Me?”  And while they were all denying it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You.”  But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.”  When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed.  And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well;  go in peace.”  Luke 8:43-48.

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Some believe in their own faith, that is, it does not matter who is the object of their faith, the power comes from their own self.  Such believers could improperly try to isolate (without considering its context) and use only the words in verse 48 with emphasis:  “Daughter, your faith has made you well”.

Jesus’ words in 46 refute such belief.  “But Jesus said, “Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me.”

The woman herself who had a hemorrhage also refutes such belief.  She tried to get healed for twelve years, but could not be healed by anyone.  If the power came from herself, then she would have been healed a long time ago.  She sought Jesus.  She sought to touch Jesus.  She believed Jesus could heal her.  Jesus was the object of her faith that made her well.

We live in a time and age of vague spiritualism without an object.  So many believe the power comes from within their own self.

And, even for those who would deny such subjective faith, they are content with the practice of religion as compared to seeking THE PERSON of religion.  They are content to attend church, be seen by others that they are in church, give offerings, sing songs, listen to a sermon, and go home.  They have faith in their practice, not faith in the person Jesus.

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;  it is these that testify about Me;  and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life.”  John 5:39-40.

Reformed Doctrine teaches that true faith must be in Jesus Christ.  

Reformed Doctrine distinguishes between such subjective faith and true objective faith in Jesus by pounding the table that “upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him” and by pointing out “we do not mean, that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our Righteousness.”

Article 22:  Of Faith in Jesus Christ.

We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him.  For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him.  Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy: for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior.  Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith without works.  However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean, that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our Righteousness.  But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all his merits and so many holy works which he has done for us, and in our stead, is our Righteousness.  And faith is an instrument that keeps us in communion with him in all his benefits, which, when become ours, are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins.  Belgic Confession.  

Furthermore, Reformed Doctrine teaches that this true faith in Jesus Christ is given to us as a gift by God.  

In the language of the foregoing Belgic Confession, “the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ”.

In the language of the following Canons of Dordt, “the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith” and “he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death”.

Article 8.  For this was the sovereign counsel, and most gracious will and purpose of God the Father, that the quickening and saving efficacy of the most precious death of his Son should extend to all the elect, for bestowing upon them alone the gift of justifying faith, thereby to bring them infallibly to salvation:  that is, it was the will of God, that Christ by the blood of the cross, whereby he confirmed the new covenant, should effectually redeem out of every people, tribe, nation, and language, all those, and those only, who were from eternity chosen to salvation, and given to him by the Father;  that he should confer upon them faith, which together with all the other saving gifts of the Holy Spirit, he purchased for them by his death;  should purge them from all sin, both original and actual, whether committed before or after believing;  and having faithfully preserved them even to the end, should at last bring them free from every spot and blemish to the enjoyment of glory in his own presence forever.  SECOND HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of the Death of Christ, and the Redemption of Men Thereby of Canons of Dordt.

“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  2 Timothy 3:14-25.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith;  and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9.


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